Ten questions with Capella human resources faculty chair Shelley Robbins, PhD

October 31, 2014

Shelley Robbins, PhD, came to Capella University in 2002 as the executive director of the School of Business, later becoming a senior core faculty member in the School of Business and Technology, and then faculty chair in 2011.

She has extensive experience in both traditional and online programs for business and technology, especially human resources degree programs.

Q: What skills, qualifications and/or attributes do you look for in potential Capella faculty?

                  A: There are three primary things I look for: Scholar-practitioners who should not only have the appropriate degree in their field, but hands-on experience in that field as well. If we’re going to teach best practices, our faculty needs that experience. Second, teaching experience, preferably in a variety of places, such as online and traditional. But it’s most important that they know how to teach. They can learn how to teach online. Finally, I look for student-centered candidates who believe in the value of education to transform lives.

Q: How do you stay connected with faculty and administration in a virtual environment?

      A: On the phone, via email, LinkedIn. I’m experimenting with other social media, but right now, email is the most important.

Q: What is your most memorable moment as faculty chair?

        A: Without a doubt, going to commencement. It’s so energizing to see the results and to meet students in person that I may have only met virtually before. It’s very exciting to meet and hug and celebrate with them.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

         A: The variety. I work strategically in developing curriculum and courses while looking at how these will fit faculty and students, plus there’s the need to keep up with trends both in research and in practice in the field. It’s a constant state of learning.

Q: What industry trends are you seeing that will affect professionals in the next few years?

           A: So much change in terms of increasing speed and globalization within business, as well as use of data and data analytics. How we use technology depends on and is affected by all of this. We have to incorporate more leadership in this speed and globalization, and we have to teach leaders to be more nimble.

Q: How do you stay on top of what employers are looking for? How do you keep your industry skills and knowledge up to date?

             A: I talk to people working in the field, attend professional meetings and national/regional conferences, follow news in both higher ed and in the industry. I read voraciously and take webinars on human resource management and leadership, tech learning, and higher ed. I also deliver webinars for Capella on trends in human resource management and am a member of the advisory council on technology-enabled learning.

Q: What are three websites or blogs that you read on a daily basis?

       A: The Lumina Foundation, Society for Human Resource Management, and

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

       A: Follow your passion. Do work you’re passionate about and care about.

Q: What’s one thing your colleagues would be surprised to know about you?

       A: I’ve trained and raised three Irish wolfhounds and shown them in competition, and I’ve done therapy dog training work as well.

Q: Coffee, tea or soda?

       A: Coffee!

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